3 out of 4 stars
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Close Relationships and Rewarding Businesses from Conversational Skills by Lawrence J. Bookbinder, Ph.D. is a self-help book that aims to increase the reader’s conversational skills with the eventually goal of helping them build better relationships in both their personal and professional lives. A quick read, the author keeps paragraphs short, includes bulleted lists, highlights important ideas in boxes, and focuses on real-world examples. He covers the importance of empathy in conversations but also includes examples of how active listening can harm both the speaker and the listener. The book is a comprehensive introduction to conversational skills.
I really enjoyed how well this book flowed. I felt like I had only been reading for a little while when I suddenly realized that I had reached the appendix. The short chapters and example conversations help the reader stay on track and invested in the book. I enjoyed that the author used examples of good and bad conversations from his own life to explain that you have to focus on your conversational skills every day and that even professionals allow their emotions to get in the way of listening to others on occasion.
As I said before, I felt like the book flew by. This was generally a good thing, except that I wasn’t actually aware when the book was about to end. There’s no conclusion to the author’s ideas, although there is a story that shows how listening with respect can change your life. I would have appreciated an analysis of that story at the end that included a conclusion which reminds readers of the conversational skills they need to practice and of the rewards waiting for them (shown in the story) if they follow the author’s advice. In addition, I wasn’t aware the book was ending because I was only 73% of the way through. The last quarter of the book is just appendices, which I didn’t find generally helpful. I appreciated Appendix D, which included additional resources for readers who wanted to keep expanding their skills, but A, B, C, and the Key Sentences were all unnecessary for me. They covered limitations of the book, why the author thinks the book is different from similar resources, and questions the author would like to answer. They were things I would want to know before reading the book, not after, and I ended up feeling a little cheated that the last fourth of the book included a lot of repetition and opinions from the author rather than actual material related to the topic.
Overall, I would rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I appreciated the advice given, but the ending came suddenly and was followed by an excess of information that wasn’t useful for me as a reader. I would appreciate the author editing down the appendices and including a more effective conclusion.
I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to have better conversations. It’s appropriate for readers of all ages and for people who wish to improve both business and personal relationships.
Close Relationships and Rewarding Businesses from Conversational Skills
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